It’s hard not to feel disproportionately let down by a minor disappointment sometimes. I mean, it’s in the word — a disappointment is a thing that disappoints. Even if it’s something small, that can suck.
I didn’t have a specific question in mind this week, I just wanted to draw a card to give me some clarity and something to think about. Go figure, I drew the Five of Cups… Or, as I like to think of it, “the whiny punkass card.”
Maybe I’m not being fair, though. This is also a card of bereavement, loss, and heartbreak. The thing is, those things can all be represented by other cards in the deck. The Five of Cups carries its own particular connotations here that they don’t.
This guy is clearly upset about the three upended cups in front of him, and understandably so. What’re those things, gold? They’re probably pretty expensive cups full of some bomb-ass wine, or extremely fancy water. Here’s the thing, though: There isn’t even anyone else in the image. He’s probably the one who knocked them over in the first place. Even if he wasn’t, what did he do, leave his expensive cups alone on the ground where raccoons could get at them? Do not put your cups on the ground, guy, that idea is bad.
That’s not all. While he’s weeping into his cloak about his three dumped over cups, there are still two perfectly good cups behind him. Not only that, there’s a river like ten feet away. Just pick up your cups and go refill them, my dude. It would not even be difficult.
Anyway, I am sorry to say that this is pretty apt. I’ve experienced an extremely trivial disappointment (a payment processing company deemed my business against their TOS, and I don’t even have the energy to argue the point right now), and let it more or less ruin my night. This will not do. As much as it sucks to be made to feel like I’m not good enough for a credit card processing company (of all things), I have so much else I could be focusing on that isn’t that. I mean, they’re not even the only payment processing company I work with. This situation is literally less important than finding out that Mr. Yogato’s froyo place is out of bananas and Teddy Grahams.
That’s not the only disappointment I’ve had, but trust me, the other ones are even more laughable.
And yet… It stings and I complain.
I have more than two cups still full behind me. There are rivers around me. The loss is closer to a shot glass than it is to three chalices. It’s going to be okay.
I ate most of my bodyweight in melon and pasta and, like the mighty African rock python consuming the equally mighty springbok, I needed to sleep on a warm rock and not move for an extended period of time.
Anyway. I’ve been doing a lot of considering re: the Jungian concept of the “shadow self.” It’s a topic I’d like to delve into further, but really deserves a post (or three, or four) of its own. Suffice it to say that I think it’s what’s making the pandemic especially difficult for a lot of people — when it’s hard to be in the same room as yourself, you’re not likely to enjoy having a lot of free time on your hands.
This led on a short free-association jaunt through various meditations, trance work, and sound healing, and I landed on a specific need: a guide to what I’m trying to fix in the first place. I know my faults, and I like to think I’m relatively self-aware, but there’s more to integration than that. There’s really no road map for how this kind of thing is supposed to go, though.
It’s not a super complicated spread, but it yields a lot of information — from the needs of the physical body, to the soul, to the inner child, to how to stay connected to your higher self. I’m not really under any illusion that the general public is super into my own inner journey here, but, if you’re curious about how a theoretical spread might look and how the cards relate to each other, this might be helpful.
I used the Animalis Os Fortuna deck, and my own spread shook out like this:
What my physical body needs: Nine of Wands, depicting the iguana. In this place, this appears to mean the need to push forward. I’ve been engaging in more physical activity, so the message here seems to be to keep at it, and keep increasing my reps. I even bought a sledgehammer to make a shovelglove!
What my soul needs: Five of Wands, depicting the axolotl. Struggles, obstacles, and rivalry. I’m competitive by nature. I’m at my best when I have an opponent, even if they don’t know they’re my opponent and I make no attempt to take the competition out of my own mind. It’s practically what the concept of Instagram hate following was made for, if you substitute “hate” with “rivalry.” I’m not too enlightened to enjoy opposition. Comparison isn’t always the thief of joy — a little healthy competition keeps life interesting, and helps spur me to be a better version of myself.
What my inner child needs: Two of Wands, depicting the salamander. A pause, and to bide my time. Considering a lot of what I’ve been struggling with lately are childhood memories, it sounds like my inner whelp needs a break. I don’t blame them.
How my shadow self is impacting my life: Knight of Swords, depicting the magpie. Impulsiveness, aggression, and overenthusiasm. Consequences, schmonsequences, he has things to do. He goes for what he wants, and everything else be damned. His intentions are pure, but he’s kind of a dick about them. That’s… Yeah, that sounds about right.
A way that I can begin to accept my shadow aspect: Five of Swords, depicting the peacock. Defeat, and suffering from egotism. There’s an interesting pathology that impacts people in relationships with others who show signs of narcissistic personality disorder, no matter whether those relationships are romantic or familial. Laconically, it’s usually called “fleas.” They’re behaviors that seem to “jump” from a narcissist to a victim, and, if they aren’t resolved, from that victim to their victims. Essentially, they’re protective mechanisms — tiny things you do to protect yourself from narcissistic rage and other forms of abuse at the hands of someone with a fragile, wounded ego.
I can see a flea here. My shadow self impacts my life by making me impulsive and aggressive. I jump from one thing to the next if I’m not immediately good at it, because my upbringing showed me that failure meant mockery and pain. Aggression was rewarded, while softer feelings were mocked and rooted out.
How to better process my emotions: Ace of Cups, depicting an overflowing vessel. Interestingly, this card stands for optimism and new opportunities. It also shows a cup overflowing, and the suit of Cups specifically relates to the emotional self. This cup runneth over, sharing its bounty. The advice here is to process feelings by sharing them.
Something I need to be more aware of: Ten of Swords, depicting the vulture. Oof. Vulture and I go way back, and he usually seems to show up when some kind of purging needs to or is about to happen. (Did you know that vultures sometimes eat so much that they can’t fly, and need to vomit before taking off? Fascinating! Also super gross!) The Ten of Swords is despair and ruin. It’s the end of a cycle, and the ending ain’t a happy one. In this context, it means to let go and be reborn. This cycle is over, and it sucked, so get ready to start a better one.
How to stay more connected with my higher self: The Queen of Wands, depicting the cobra. I love the Queen of Wands. She stands for generosity, creativity, and drama. She has power and self-possession, she’s courageous and hot-tempered. She’s beauty, she’s grace, she can probably wreck your face. The lesson is to temper that power with kindness, and invest energy into creative work.
The pandemic has done everyone’s nerves up wretched, and I think the shadow self has a lot to do with that. It’s not easy to have a lot of time on your hands if you don’t enjoy your own company, and it’s also not a simple problem to solve. This tarot spread doesn’t offer a quick fix, but it does answer some important questions.
Note: This post contains affiliate links to the tarot reader I chose. These allow me to earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting tarot readers and this site!
This week, I decided to have someone else pull some cards for me. I didn’t really have a question in mind — to be honest, it feels like a lot of my life has stalled lately. Even my therapist recently suggested making appointments “as needed” instead of regularly, since there’s not much going on. So, I asked Mintcoven for a general three card reading, just to see what messages I should be receiving.
Mint responded shortly afterward with a very thorough analysis and a picture of the reading itself.
And would you look at those reversals! (Also how cool is this deck?)
The Emperor reversed represents a loss of power — not surprising to me, considering the entire country right now. We’ve more or less surrendered to COVID-19, the ruling class is profiteering with impunity, progress toward justice seems painfully slow at times, and “U.S. Soldier Admits Plotting With Neo-Nazi Cult to Kill Fellow Troops” is a real headline. Point being, it gets hard not to feel a loss of power sometimes. So, Emperor reversed. I get it.
Next is The Chariot reversed. Mint said that this card, paired with The Emperor, represents a spiritual unrest. I feel this pretty hard, too. Isolation makes me feel disconnected — not necessarily from people (as I said yesterday, there are advantages to solitary ritual), but from nature. The cycle of life. The world. I feel like a weed that’s been uprooted from the edge of the sidewalk and put in a pot on the windowsill. Safe, yes. Cared for, yes. But potting soil and glass aren’t the same as dirt and sun. In some senses, I’m spiritually at peace. In others, I’m chafing.
Mint went on to explain that this probably isn’t a super prominent spiritual unrest, but a loss of intuitive guidance and path making. It’s true — every day is more or less the same. There isn’t much to orient myself by, and I have noticed myself doing more trancework, seeking more dream symbolism, doing everything short of reading gallons worth of tea leaves to get some message to hold onto.
Because this is happening on an intuitive and spiritual level, the suggestion here was to get ready for an info dump from my guides, particularly those traditionally considered “feminine.” This is part of a balance that is shifting and recalibrating itself.
The last card is The Priest reversed. This points to letting go of values that were put on me by tradition or other external forces, and a challenge to how I used to live. For the next few weeks, I’m to keep my eyes peeled for messages, and signs of things that are no longer working getting themselves out of my way.
Mint wrapped up the reading with the suggestion to journal my dreams and write down everything that seems significant. This is a big shift, and there probably isn’t one little sign or symbol that will let me make sense of it — this is big picture stuff.
The good news is, I’m probably not going it alone. Others are going through this reawakening too, so I won’t have to travel this road by myself. Are you one of them?
If you’ve already donated to another Black-led organization, bail fund, or mutual aid fund, hit me up with a screencap/pic of the confirmation email (redact whatever information you need), your birth date, and whatever question you’d like answered, and I’ll send you a three card reading at no cost.
Note: This post contains affiliate links to the awesome Lenormand reader I requested a reading from. Thank you for supporting them and this site!
You know that one of the reasons that you shouldn’t do tarot readings for yourself is that there’s a lot of temptation to keep pulling cards until you get the answer you want?
That doesn’t really work when you go to different readers, on different days, using different systems of divination. As it turns out, you’ll get the same answer. Sure, it might be a little more or a little less in-depth from reader to reader, and some of the details might vary as time goes on, but the answer itself? If it’s it, it’s it.
The reader responded with a very in-depth analysis and advice, though I didn’t receive the specifics on what cards were drawn. The short story is, I know what I want, but I want to know how to get it now. The world is on hold (and rightly so), so things are slowed down. I need to do more self-promotion, which I’ve heard before.
Right now, though, these things raise still another question — one I don’t really know how to ask, let alone answer.
I know what to do, I know why, but where do I get the energy? What do I do if I feel like it’s no longer worth it?
I’m somewhere between “nihilistic” and “throw everything into the back of the car and live in a cave.” (This isn’t really hyperbole — one ex used to buy me survival gear for pretty much every holiday, because they felt it was pretty likely that I’d disappear into the woods at some point, and they wanted to make sure I made it back okay.) Someone I know posted a meme about Boomers complaining about rioters destroying property, while Millennials and Zoomers don’t care because we don’t own property. Rough chuckles, but where’s the lie?
I want to make the world be a better place — whether I have an actual role in doing so, or am just able to support the people doing the visible work. I want to make the life I desire, but it almost feels like there isn’t much point in trying right now. Some say a better world is being born, but it seems like we can only hope the worst of us don’t kill it out of spite.
Every reading I’ve gotten tells me it’ll be a few years, but I’ll get to where I want to be. A rising tide doesn’t necessarily lift all boats, though. Will it be worth it if everything else hasn’t changed?
Note: This post contains affiliate links to the person who read for me. Thank you for supporting tarot readers and this site!
It’s said you should never read cards for yourself, and, for the most part, I agree — especially with long, complex readings. The more information you have to grapple with, the more likely you are to insert your own interpretations that may be a little off the mark. In a reading where the interpretation of one card can be dependent on the interpretation of others around it, injecting too much of your own hopes and desires can make things confusing and inaccurate.
That’s why I occasionally like to have someone else read for me, especially if I want a lot of information. This time, I chose Justincasetarot’sGanesha spread.
My own pantheon is a bit limited — I have a very few deities that I work with. While Ganesha isn’t one of them, he is one of my favorite Hindu deities. Even though I don’t make requests of him, I still sometimes leave offerings for him during Ganesh Chaturthi — especially puffed rice, bananas, and incense.
(I actually do this for a lot of deities that I don’t really have a relationship with. I feel like looking up their taboos and leaving offerings they might like is the spiritual equivalent of telling a stranger on the bus “Happy birthday,” you know? It’s just polite. If they don’t want it, they can ignore it.)
According to the listing, this spread answers six specific questions:
Why is your way blocked?
What energy is needed as the first step to unblocking your way?
What energy do you already have that will aid you?
What do you need to rid yourself of on the way?
What is Lord Ganesha’s lesson here?
What will be the results of your way being opened?
I sent the reader the information they needed, and received a very detailed reply the next day.
In short, my way is blocked by miscommunications and money matters, which wasn’t a surprise. I need balance, guidance, and unorthodox action to take the first step to removing this block. Fortunately, I’m already pretty gutsy — if there’s one thing I’ll say for myself, I can act with bravery — and this will help me. Along the way, I’ll need to carefully consider where I get my information from, and refuse to waver from my position.
Lord Ganesha’s lesson here was primarily to stay positive, and be patient. The feeling of being trapped by obstacles will start to go away. I often get the message to wait, even from my own readings for myself. It’s possibly the most frustrating part!
Lastly, the results of unblocking the way will be that my talents begin to shine. Creative partnerships flourish, and I will realize that I don’t need to actively seek validation in order to feel validated.
All told, this reading was very helpful and detailed. It matched a lot of information I’ve received before (though not all of it was something I wanted to hear, admittedly). I was especially impressed by Justincasetarot’s response time — like I said, I sent in the request one day, and had a PDF of the reading in my inbox the next!
If you’re feeling stuck or blocked in life right now, I highly recommend this reading. It’s reasonably priced, very detailed, and answers a lot of key questions.
This week, I wanted to dive back into Ogham divination. I’ve been practicing working with a pendulum made of a fallen cypress root, and the set I have is probably the most conducive to using it.
When I first learned pendulum divination as a preteen, I did it a simple way: hanging a ring or pendant from a piece of string into an empty glass, and asking it to show me “yes” and “no.” Usually, an even number of taps on the glass was a “yes,” while an odd one was a “no.” I’ve always enjoyed using pendulums, and I’ve been having a really interesting time devising ways to mix different types of divination together. Driftwood Ogham fews and a wood pendulum seemed a natural match!
I didn’t ask a specific question this time. So far, this set seems pretty good at telling me what I need to know. It isn’t much like tarot or Lenormand, in this respect. It’s less about answering questions than providing a different, more nebulous kind of insight. If Lenormand describes actions and situations, and tarot describes the energies and emotions surrounding those situations, Ogham is another layer entirely.
The pendulum was still over every oval of driftwood, except for two that made it swing in swift, ever-widening circles: Rowan and Heather.
Heather came up for me last week, when I asked specifically about working through some old patterns. These are things that are going to take more than a week to get past, so I’m not surprised to see this friend appear again.
Rowan is Luis. In Ogham divination, it represents protection from every kind of danger — physical, emotional, and spiritual. It’s defense, precaution, and care. Bind two rowan twigs into an equal-armed cross with red thread, and you have a protective charm. This points to either having protection, or needing it. In either case, it’s time to look to the things that make us feel safe.
Honestly, it reassures me. If Heather points to needing to metaphorically “burn down” old protective patterns so new growth can emerge, Rowan tells me that they aren’t necessary. I am protected, I am safe. I don’t need them. There are healthy behaviors and mechanisms there, better ways to protect myself that don’t involve self-sabotage.
I can keep doing the work without fear, and I’ll be better for it.
Learning Lenormand divination has been immensely practical, especially now. It’s a lot more tangible than tarot — where tarot deals with emotions and energies, Lenormand cards deal with actions and circumstances. Both tarot and Lenormand readings give you a glimpse of the situation as it stands now, if nothing were to change, but having both at my disposal has been very helpful.
I’ve been doing small, two-card daily Lenormand readings for myself. Every day, I ask the same question: What can I do right now to bring me closer to the life that I want?
And I get an answer: Write something, deal with unresolved relationships, make something, focus my energy and attention on a specific area.
Sometimes, it’s funny — since the readings are very straightforward and practical, the advice isn’t always profound. For example, for this week’s reading, I asked what I should focus on for the week to get me closer to my ideal life.
I drew the Tower and the Anchor. The Tower can represent authority, in a governmental sense. It can be the company you work for (or, in my case, my self-employment). It can be protection and isolation. The Anchor can be achieving your goals — as in, dropping anchor once you’ve reached your destination. It can be stability, or settling down. Most sources interpret this combination as a safe harbor, long-term protection, or a stable isolation.
In other words, “You want to know what you should do to achieve your goals? Really? Maybe stay home and don’t die first, nerd.”
Which… Okay, I get that. The world isn’t likely to be substantially different over the course of the next week. Safe harbors and isolation it is.
I asked my copy of the Crow Tarot deck the same question. In response, I drew The Heirophant.
The Heirophant is a religious leader. He’s an authority. He is tradition, convention, conformity, and a mentor in The Way Things Have Always Been Done. In a spiritual sense, he is ritual, routine, and ceremony. When he shows up, it’s often a sign not to rock the boat — if you want to succeed, it’s time to listen to people who have gone before you. Reinventing the wheel won’t get you any closer to your goal.
Taken together, I should stay home and take this opportunity to study and build more routine into my day. Structure and good advice will bring me closer to the life I aspire to, now’s not the time to take chances.
Note: This post contains affiliate links to some items. These links allow me to earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting small businesses, the post office, and this site!
This weekend, my partner and I decided it’d be a good time to give everything a nice, solid deep-clean. Everything. The windows, the stove, the weird, hard-to-reach area behind the toilet, everything.
Cleaning house is a great opportunity to refresh the energy in a place. While there are small, day-to-day things you can do to keep the flow from going stagnant on you, nothing really beats a solid top-to-bottom scrubbing and airing out.
Due to a combination of frugality and scent-sensitivity headaches, I make pretty much all of our cleaning products. (What I save in glass cleaner and counter spray, however, I more than spend on ethanol, vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap.) I keep a canister of homemade cleaning wipes in the bathroom, and another in the kitchen. I’ve got pretty cobalt glass bottles of spray cleaner on my kitchen counter, and another of tub and tile cleaner under my bathroom sink.
Frugality and lack of synthetic scents aside, the nicest thing about these DIY cleaners is that the ingredients easily pull double-duty; the same things that keep stains from my counters and rings out of my tub also have a history of use as spiritual cleansing agents. Make them on the right day, in the right moon phase, during the best planetary hour for whatever you’re trying to do, speak your intentions as you add each ingredient, and charge them by whatever method is preferable for you. (I would, however, advise against using sunlight — depending on what ingredients you use, heat and UV light might denature them, leaving you with a concoction that’s mostly water.)
We opened up the curtains and all of the windows. We played upbeat music. We scrubbed everything.
When the physical cleaning was done and my partner was figuring out lunch, I worked on the other side.
I love tarot cards. Not only are they useful divination tools, they’re useful aids for focusing magic. Whatever you’re trying to draw in or push away, there’s a card for that. In each room, I set up a small altar with a candle or incense, a clear quartz,and three cards: The Sun, The World, and the Ten of Cups.
These three cards are among the most positive omens in the deck. The Sun speaks of radiant positivity, abundance, and optimism. The World speaks of auspicious beginnings and infinite possibility. The Ten of Cups speaks of ultimate fulfillment. Good stuff to bring into your life and home, right?
I treated them the way you might treat a crystal grid — placing them, charging them, and releasing the energy. It was a small ritual, moving room-by-room, setting up each grid, and putting them to work, but it felt more uplifting and powerful than I can say.
I definitely needed it after the day before that. Friday, I had ambitious (well, relatively ambitious) dinner plans. I made penne, a quasi-homemade mushroom risotto, and grilled vegetables marinated in balsamic vinegar and herbs. Everything came out tasty, and all was well.
You know how some people have genetic quirks that keep them from enjoying certain foods? I don’t even necessarily mean allergies. Some people are lactose intolerant, some think cilantro tastes like soap, and so on.
As it turns out, some people can’t handle boletes.
Like, really can’t handle them.
I am apparently one of them.
I know the mushrooms weren’t actually toxic, because they came in a prepared blend and I really hope Trader Joe’s knows better. I was lucky, though. Some pretty intense gastric pain and dehydration was the most I had to deal with, though I was legitimately concerned that I was going to need some kind of intervention if things didn’t improve quickly enough. I definitely didn’t want to need a spinal tap because my intracranial and blood pressure decided to shoot way up on me. I definitely definitely didn’t want to go to the hospital and have to explain that I was there because my dumb ass decided now was the time to try eating unfamiliar fungi.
Lesson learned. If you’re trying to avoid using ER resources, maybe stick with things you’re absolutely certain you can tolerate. Save the risotto experiments for the future.
Here’s hoping you’re safe, staying sane, and not eating anything weird.
You know that meme that’s been going around, about how if you don’t come out of social distancing with a new hobby, hustle, etc., you never lacked the time, you lacked the discipline? That’s absolute hot trash, but I am trying to use the time I have between bouts of ennui, existential despair, and anxiety to learn new things. It’s a small thing, but it helps me keep sane.
Right now, I’m trying to teach myself Lenormand readings.
It’s a very useful kind of divination. I don’t think it really replaces tarot, but, when used in combination with it, it can give you a really complete picture of a situation. Tarot’s great for giving you an energetic, mental, and emotional snapshot, while Lenormand focuses more on actions. If tarot is the “what,” Lenormand is the “how.”
It’s a bit outside of the scope of this post to dive into the history of divination using the Petit Lenormand, but there’re already a number of very good posts out there on the subject. Instead, I wanted to see how well this kind of divination would work for my usual weekly readings.
Recently, my therapist recommended doing something to add some joy to every day. It’s harder to do with everything that’s going on, but that’s exactly why it’s so important — in the absence of taking pictures of moss and mushrooms, birding, and identifying wildflowers, I have to make more of an effort to find and do things that bring me joy at home.
I can’t pretend to be an expert at this, since I’ve only just started. What was interesting here is how neatly the advice overlapped with what I’ve been told via tarot: One of the biggest helps for easing my anxiety is to lean more on my relationship. It provides care, stability, and happiness, but, like I talked about yesterday, I’ve also had some trouble with the reciprocal aspect of being a disabled person in a long-term relationship.
In this kind of divination, the meanings of the cards are read literally, the way one might read a sentence. Each symbol has a meaning, akin to a pictogram. The Heart, unsurprisingly, stands for love and relationships. The anchor is stability and resiliency. Birds are chatter, according to some sources, and nervousness according to others. Cards are read in pairs, with the first card acting as the subject of the “sentence,” and the second as the modifier.
Read this way, heart and anchor are a long-term relationship. Anchor and birds are life=long partners, or deep discussions. It’s a deep discussion with a long-term romantic partner.
Admittedly, I don’t really like talking about what’s going on in my brain with my partner. I feel like I create enough of a burden by existing, like I don’t have a “right” to his emotional labor. We don’t really have any friction in our relationship, but there are definitely times when I have too much going on in my mind to be really present. I encourage him to be open with me, though I have trouble doing the same with him. I know that’s something that I need to get past — it looks like doing so is the best way for me to figure out how to be happy on a day-to-day basis.